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Brett Westwood looks at how the lobster has become an epicure's delight, an improbable sex symbol, a sign of a luxurious lifestyle and even a muse for surrealist artists.

Brett Westwood looks at how the lobster is a creature that when drawn up from the deep is made to shed its natural identity as an ancient predator of the sea floor and has become an improbable sex symbol, an epicure's delight, a muse for surrealist artists a fearsome little nipper thanks to those pincers. Not all lobsters have claws, but the ones in this programme do. They're the European and American species, which come equipped with enormous claws like oversized boxing gloves, and a tough armour evolved to withstand the rigours of life on the rocks. Producer: Tom Bonnett.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Mon 11 Jul 2016 21:00

Dr Paul Clark

Dr Paul Clark
Dr Paul Clark has worked at the Natural History Museum in London for more than 40 years. He started as an Assistance Scientific Officer in the Crustacea Section on 19 November 1974 and since then has worked as curator of the decapod collection, working with 10-footed animals such as crayfish, crabs, lobsters, prawns, and shrimp.

For the lastdecade his work has focused mainly on research; taxonomy and systematics of decapods, brachyuran crab larvae, some eel studies, invasive decapoda and riverine plastic litter.

Dr Giovanni Aloi

Dr Giovanni Aloi
Giovanni Aloi is an expert in the representation of animals and plants in modern and contemporary art. He is a lecturer in History of Art and Visual Cultures at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sotheby’s Institute of Art London and New York, and Tate Galleries.

In 2006, he founded Antennae, the Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. It is an international reference point for the debate on animals in the arts. He is the author of Art & Animals and is currently working on two monographs, one on taxidermy in contemporary art and another on plants in contemporary art, both due for publication in 2016.

Trevor Corson

Trevor Corson
In the pursuit of writing projects Trevor Corson has wandered restaurant kitchens, worked as a commercial fisherman, resided among Buddhist priests in Japan, begged his way aboard scientific research ships, and observed protest movements in China.

His first book, The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean, began as a centerpiece article in the Atlantic that was included in the Best American Science Writing edited by Oliver Sacks. To research the book Trevor lived on a small island off the Maine coast for two years while working full-time as a crew member on a lobster boat, then spent months holed up in laboratories and zoology libraries learning about the surprising soap opera of decapod mating habits.

Dr Charlie Ellis

Dr Charlie Ellis
Charlie Ellis is Postdoctoral Researcher at the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow. Having grown up in coastal North Cornwall, he became interested in creating sustainable ways to meet seafood demand, and the conservation of both traditional inshore fishing fleets and the populations they target.

He has studied the population ecology of European lobsters in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and his Univrsity of Exeter PhD thesis examined the stock enhancement project run to conserve the species at the National Lobster Hatchery.

This project aims to use genetic markers to test population structure and reproductive ecology in local lobsters, and provide lobster hatcheries and alternative stock conservation measures with a genetic method to identify released animals, enabling assessments of how well they contribute to the sustainability of pressured or depleted marine populations.

Dr Zoe Jaques

Dr Zoe Jaques
Dr Zoe Jaques is Lecturer in Children's Literature at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Homerton College. She has published on topics ranging from the history of metamorphosis to the representation of archery in modern children’s fiction. The majority of her research concerns children’s literature and she has a particular interest in the representation of the non-human.

Her most recent book, Children’s Literature and the Posthuman, considers how questions of the animal, environment and technology emerge in children’s fantasy literature and film. She also has an interest in book history and illustration. She has published extensively on Lewis Carroll’s Alice.

Olivia Orchart

Olivia Orchart
Olivia Orchart is Displays Supervisor at Bristol Aquarium where she helps to look after a huge variety of marine life ranging from stingrays and sharks to seahorses, jellyfish and giant Pacific octopus. She trained at Bangor University where she gained a Masters degree in Marine Biology.

Len Walters

Len Walters
Len Walters is a commercial fisherman in Cardigan Bay in West Wales. He started catching lobsters for fun as a young boy and it grew into a pastime that he has been working on for more than 25 years. He catches lobster and crab for export and for his wife, Mandy, to prepare and sell at markets.

Mandy Walters

Mandy Walters
Mandy Walters runs a seafood market stall at the Food and Farming Award-winning St Dogmael's market, where she sells lobster and crab prepared herself.

She encourages people to try her produce and teaches people how to cook it as she believes this, and the weather, are the main reason people in Wales have not traditionally eaten this local food.

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